By John Ruibal, MS, RDN, CSSD
At the start of each New Year, we tend to reflect on the past year, and anticipate and plan for the year to come. Wellness has many layers, and sometimes it can seem overwhelming when we try to make all the changes we feel we need to in order to feel energized and healthy.
Here are few areas of wellness to focus on that can get you started on the perfect vision of a better you for 2020.
First, don’t judge yourself against others.
Be happy with the person you see in the mirror and know you are willing to put in a little time and effort to make you a better person. This is tough with social media, television and advertising telling us who we should be and what success looks likes. Try to tune these messages out and concentrate on where you are and where you want to be in a month, three months and at the end of 2020. Come up with a plan for you.
Make small achievable goals to keep you motivated and keep you moving forward. If weight loss is a goal, a one to two-pound loss per week is achievable and sustainable for the long term. A lot of patients I have counseled during my career think this is too slow. The one question I always ask them is this: If you were 50 pounds lighter this time next year, would that make you happy? The answer is, almost 100 percent of the time, “Of course!”
Second, work on getting more sleep.
Many of you who know me will often hear me say, “Sleep is the new workout.” Sleep allows us to recover and repair. The goal is to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per day. This can be a challenge for many of us.
Like changing eating habits, make slow changes that will add up to meaningful changes over time. Aim for 5-10 minutes of extra sleep per day in January, another 5-10 minutes per day in February and so on throughout the year. If you continue this trend throughout 2020, you will have added 1-2 hours of extra sleep per day to your schedule.
Third, you have to exercise.
Current guidelines for adults say to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. That’s a little more than 20 minutes per day. Again, if you are not exercising now, start small with 5-10 minutes per day in January, 10-15 minutes per day in February, 15-20 minutes per day in March, and by April, you will be meeting the minimum of 20-25 minutes per day.
Fourth, focus on spiritual fitness.
Stress causes a lot of health problems, and utilizing the resources of a church or other organization you may belong to is invaluable. Life can sometimes be overwhelming, and knowing you’re not alone and have a place that can help guide you through tough life problems is key to your health and well-being.
Finally, good health starts with oral health.
Make sure to see your dentist twice a year. If you don’t have one, find one and make an appointment. All of our nutrition starts with the mouth, and if you don’t take care of your teeth, many health problems can arise.
If a problem does occur, a dentist can suggest a plan to get you back on track. If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, there is no time like the present. The longer you wait, the worse a health condition may get.
Seek Help From Prowers Medical Center
I would like to tell you good health and wellness is easy. It is not; but the work you put into changes and the more consistent you work at these changes, the healthier you will be in the New Year.
If you need help with your wellness plan for the upcoming year, the Prowers Medical Center team is here to help. Let’s make your perfect vision for health and wellness come true in 2020 — call us at 719-336-4343 to get started.